The Ongoing Digitization of Your Life

I’m part of the generation that, while growing up, was the first to have a computer in their house and the last to not have the internet. Now that I have kids, there’s no imagining a world without cheap, ubiquitous, network-connected devices and consequently everything I had a kid has been digitized.

I can pick anything mechanical from my youth and someone has attached a circuit, an LCD screen and maybe a wifi modem to it. Most recently, it was microscopes.

If you’re reading this blog you probably spent some time staring through twin oculi squinting at a slide and think a microscope looks like this:

Things have changed a bit.

Last October I backed a Kickstarter project for a digital microscope thinking it would be fun to get one for the kids. Six months later it hadn’t shipped, the backers were intermittently providing unsatisfying explanations and I figured it was a scam. So I cashed in some Amazon points and got a Tomolov DM402.

It came in two days – and literally two days later the Kickstarter microscope showed up. 🤷

Here’s what they look like:

No squinting through tubes, instead you’ve got a giant screen showing you what you’re looking at.

Plus, because everything is digital you can click to take a photo of what you’re looking at.

And the magnification – some combination of optical & digital zoom – is incredible. 100x, 800x & 1600x!

One of them even has the ability to measure angles or distances on the screen!

But what blew me away was learning that you could record videos. At home and in seconds you can create a macroscopic video that rivals what would have been state of the art a few years back:

I’m still kind of in awe that you can do this on your kitchen counter. Any nostalgia I had for an old microscope is pretty much gone and I can’t wait to see what it’s possible to do with these new versions.